Jack Marshall, resident at Anthony Wilding was born in Balham, South London, but his family moved out to New Zealand in 1937 when he was in his late teens.
When war broke out he joined the RNZAF and headed back to Britain, and joined 115 Squadron flying Wellington bombers as a tail gunner.
He survived an early crash in his career when his bomber was forced to ditch in the North Sea, but he and the crew were rescued by a fishing trawler after 16 hours adrift.
Later on he switched to a pathfinder squadron, and flew Stirling bombers. He flew with Fraser Barron, a New Zealand pilot who became a close friend.
Fraser Barron was one of the most highly decorated New Zealand pilots who flew during the war. He was killed when he was just 23 when he crashed over France.
Jack went on to complete 46 missions and could have ended his flying career after 45 flights but he volunteered to do one extra mission when another crew was short.
The odds of survival were one in three, and he counts himself lucky to have made it through.
He married Molly in 1942, and by 1943 Jack’s war was over because he’d flown so many missions. He and Molly returned to New Zealand to start a family and had three children.
He says Anzac Day is significant, and not a day goes by when he doesn’t think about the mates like Fraser that were lost.
“When you fly in a bomber it is all about your crew. My crew is always at the back of my mind, every day.’’
The Ryman Stories of Service tribute book is now published in time to commemorate Anzac Day.
The special commemorative books recall the wartime memories of 62 of our Ryman residents. We thank them for their contribution to the freedom we enjoy today.
The collection of residents' stories are remarkable and diverse and can be read online here.